MIDDLE REGION–Senior citizen Petrona Poleon was the latest recipient of a new concrete home courtesy of the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) Senior Project.
Poleon, a well-spoken 75-year-old widow, is a former educator who spent many years in elementary school classrooms on the island. She has lived in her home for more than 30 years, first leased the land where it is located in Middle Region but worked diligently to be able to purchase the land, and lived comfortably for many years before Hurricane Irma destroyed the house. Her husband passed away some years ago and she has lived the past few years quietly reading the books she cherishes.
Poleon was introduced to SMDF in early 2017 by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA Department of Community Development, Humanitarian and Family Affairs (CDHFA).
SMDF Managing Director Keith Franca explained that CDHFA had set out to execute repairs to approximately 15 homes of seniors, but due to budget constraints within the project it had referred five seniors, including Poleon, to SMDF.
“SMDF has a good working relationship with a number of entities and maintaining these relationships allows us to reach and assist those who need our work the most,” said Franca. Through social assessments done by both SMDF and CDHFA, it was clear that Poleon qualified for SMDF’s Senior Project.
During the handover, Franca thanked Poleon for entrusting SMDF, its project team and the contractor with her home. On site at the handover to share the story behind the construction work, Franca was joined by Senior Project Technical Lead Joseph Dollison, and Denton Mairs and Camille Morgan of Denton Quality Construction N.V.
Describing the project, Morgan said access to the property had been one of the greatest challenges. “Getting materials to the site was not easy, but our team was committed to the project,” she said.
Receiving the keys for her home and entering for the first time, Poleon took an appreciate tour of the home before thanking the group. Standing in front of her new front door, Poleon extended her sincerest gratitude to Aida Holoman of CDHFA and presented “thank you” cards to Franca, Dollison and Morgan. In addition, Poleon sang an emotional thank you to the group before sending them off.
Poleon’s house was one of the final home repair and reconstruction projects being executed by SMDF. Speaking on the project closure, Franca said the project’s success was largely attributed to the unwavering support of Dutch representative in Philipsburg Chris Johnson and the Netherlands’ representative to Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten Erwin Arkenbout.
“Being able to address one of the most basic needs of St. Maarten’s seniors has been both a pleasure and an honour for us and we hope to be able to assist many more seniors such as Mrs. Poleon,” said Franca.
SMDF has executed repair works on some 76 homes and has constructed another 16 concrete dwellings since beginning the home repair and reconstruction portion of its home repair project.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/85726-smdf-builds-home-for-middle-region-senior